Social media has the power to eradicate extreme poverty

Tomorrow's Global Partnership for Education in Brussels is key - we must not let this opportunity go to waste.

Share

Nelson Mandela said “Education is the greatest weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education is power, and it should be available to everyone.

Yet 57 million primary-school age children across the world do not attend school. The inequality this causes and the intrinsic link to extreme poverty is all too plain to see. 

Today, the issue of extreme poverty needs mass advocacy more than any other. Although the past decade has seen the most successful anti-poverty push in human history, life remains bleak for hundreds of millions of people. The challenges of education, disease, poor sanitation and gender discrimination still weigh heavily. Additionally, the increase in wealth inequality threatens to ignite new waves of social upheaval.

While these are not easy problems to address,  we are reducing extreme poverty almost every year. We’re near to eradicating the second ever disease in human history, polio, and the number of children dying before their fifth birthday is falling. If we make continued efforts and commitments to global education we could see a further reduction of extreme poverty by 12 per cent.

These challenges and opportunities require immediate action, and a new movement of social activists that use technology to unite behind important causes at key moments.

The world is interconnected - the success of the next generation here is directly connected to developments in Zimbabwe or Afghanistan today. Our political, financial and social systems are becoming more reliant on each other in order to prosper. Issues associated with global poverty do not respect border controls or Home Office policy. This reality contradicts UKIP’s calls for the UK to become more inward-looking, which is something we must counter in the strongest terms ahead of next year’s general election.

Social activism needs to be ambitious and energetic. It needs to activate at key moments, and it needs us to act together.

We can start this week. World leaders come together tomorrow in Brussels to begin the next round of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Education is a central driver to ending extreme poverty – it reduces child deaths, child marriages. It reduces teen pregnancy. A child born to a literate mother is 50 per cent more likely to live beyond the age of five.

Tomorrow we’re likely to see the biggest commitment yet from developing country governments. But there’s a real danger that the UK won’t be part of that new partnership, partly due to domestic political considerations. The leadership of the UK has been crucial in the progress that has been achieved so far, but that momentum would be jeopardised if our support vanished right when the developing countries are rising to the occasion.

At GlobalCitizen.org, we’re building a social movement to take action on extreme poverty. We’ve been emailing in our thousands and tweeting in our millions. With a long record of leadership in this area, we urge the UK Government to make a world-leading commitment.

They’ll need some convincing to play their part in getting 29 million more children in school and learning by 2018. But if we socially mobilise at the right time, we’ll be an unstoppable force for good, and our generation’s greatest legacy can be the eradication of extreme poverty.

Stephen Brown is the UK Country Director at the Global Poverty Project

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living